Tips for single parenting and money management

baby-surpriseParenting is hard, unpaid (although enormously rewarding) work. It’s hard enough when you have a partner- so hats off to those who hold down the parenting fort on their own.

In addition to the physical and emotional challenges of single parenting,there are financial challenges. Here are a few tips to help you best manage your money and keep your debts under control with one income.

Be the budget queen/king

In successful money management, planning is key. When your margins are thin, and there is little to no wiggle room (like if you are drawing from a single income) planning is crucial.

Set a detailed budget, with numerous line items. Be sure to include savings in your budgeting to cover an emergency or extra spending, so that you can avoid overuse of your credit cards.

Plastic free

When possible, commit to using cash. Leave your credit cards at home and only use them when you absolutely have to.

Any extra debt means extra payments. Unfortunately, debt can snowball very quickly, turning the tables on you. One day you’re on top of your debt; the next day it’s on top of you.


Friends are important, no matter what. They are particularly helpful too when you can team up and swap favours. Share childcare with friends and avoid hiring a sitter. Go shopping for your groceries together. You’ll save on gas and it is helpful to have a “second opinion” nearby to help you stick to budget.

Be proactive

Whether it is talking to your boss about using alternative work arrangements (perhaps telecommuting a couple of days a week or flexi-hours) to save on child care or approaching your financial institution in advance when you feel like you might be nearing your debt threshold, take the reins.

A big part of being in control of your money is taking control. A lot of problems can be avoided (or their impact lessened) when you anticipate and proactively try to generate creative solutions.